October 19, 2007
Everything that I read about this warbler was confirmed first hand by working on a couple at the museum. They are usually described as being non-descript, and that is what sets them apart from other warblers. Their very drabness and lack of distinctive markings is their defining characteristic. They are divided into four groups of subspecies, each defined by geographic location, and subtle color differences: celata, lutescens, orestera, and sordida. The two I worked on were labeled as Vermivora celata. Celata is described as being the dullest in color of all of the subspecies. And indeed, the ones I held were dull olive grey with a wisp of rusty orange faintly staining the crowns. One of the two I prepared, however, had a bright patch of yellow near the base of the tail. Dr. Willard mentioned the possibility of it being another subspecies. Perhaps he thought it could be lutescens, which is the brightest of the subspecies, but is associated with the Pacific coast. I never got around to asking.